Originally created 12/02/05

Former director of animal control is facing charges



AIKEN - Aiken County's former director of animal control services has been charged with perjury and turned herself in to authorities Thursday, law enforcement officials said.

Shirley Harden, 53, who resigned Sept. 29, posted $5,000 bond at the Aiken County Detention Center and was released on her own recognizance, Magistrate Court Judge Danny Lynn said.

Ms. Harden was charged with presenting an altered document as a matter of record and making false statements before Magistrate Court Judge Tracey Carroll on Sept. 12, according to a copy of the arrest warrant.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division instigated an investigation as a result of the court case, which involved Carlton Cantrell, an Aiken man who owned almost 200 goats seized from his home in May.

Mr. Cantrell claimed that the county did not return all of his goats, Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian said.

"We didn't do an inventory of the goats," the administrator said.

Some goats died and others were born in county custody between May and early September, when some goats were returned to Mr. Cantrell, Mr. Killian said.

SLED obtained a warrant for Ms. Harden's arrest Monday, a copy of the document shows.

The warrant says that she made false statements to conceal the fact that property that had been lawfully seized was not returned to the rightful owner under a previous agreement.

The goats seized from Mr. Cantrell's property had been living in his Muddy Branch Road home in unsanitary conditions for almost seven years, according to reports in The Augusta Chronicle. Mr. Cantrell lived in his truck during that time, reports state.

Mr. Killian said Ms. Harden had been an animal control officer since March 15, 1991, and a county employee since 1982.

Ms. Harden is scheduled to appear at the Aiken County Courthouse on Jan. 16.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (803) 648-1395, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.